Criminal: United Kingdom – Season 2 Episode 1 “Julia” Recap & Review



Back for a second season, Criminal: United Kingdom wastes absolutely no time showcasing the raw acting talent available in this country. The opening episode is arguably the weakest of the four but given how good this one is, that’s testament to the quality on offer for this series.

Episode 1 of Criminal: United Kingdom Season 2 begins on Sunday March 8th. The time is 3:42pm and in the hot-seat is Julia. The prosecutor this time around is Vanessa Warren and the interviewee is Julia Bryce.

She’s in for questioning over what she knows about the murder of Max Peeters. Specifically, the police want information relating to Luca Passero. He happened to be her partner Philip’s former student. She picks his face out from a photograph and recognizes him from a barbecue.

The last time she saw Luca was the days prior to Philip’s arrest. She believes he went back to Italy. As Julia soon learns, the Milan police are unable to find Luca. He never went home.

As the plot thickens, we learn Luca had a sexual relationship with Philip which throws further shade on him. As the questioning continues, Vanessa dives into the details of the case including a jumper and a trip to Bristol on the 28th or 29th of September. As Julia herself confirms, Philip didn’t join her in Bristol; she turned up alone.

As Julia starts rambling, talking about certain aspects of the murder, Kyle realizes something important and races out the room to phone his colleagues.

It turns out the details Julia have pulled up relating to the murder are only in the pathological reports. This means that she knows more than she’s letting on.

As a risky move, Kyle contemplates whether it may be a better move to let Julia incriminate herself. Vanessa remains oblivious to what the team have figured out and keeps Julia talking.

When Natalie shows up, she realizes that not only has Philip been blamed for an incorrect murder charge, it’s actually Julia who could be responsible.

Unbeknownst to Julia though, the whole team happens to be watching from the observation room. She mentions Luca and her own alibi involving her trip to Bristol. The team watch on, impressed, as Julia cleverly covers her own tracks.

Just before Julia is let go, the team replay the footage and make the call to arrest her. As Julia is read her rights, Vanessa heads in and confronts Natalie over what happened. Realizing they may have captured a double murderer, the duo contemplate what to do next.

Vanessa is the one given the honour of forcing a confession from Julia in the morning. She’s not too happy about it though given she was the only one not “in on it” with the confession.

After some encouraging words from Tony, she heads back in the next day with renewed passion. Only, the solicitor Nasreen picks up on Vanessa’s anxiety and tries to exploit it.

Eventually she composes herself and starts pressing Julia for the reason she knew about the murder. She mentions how Philip originally told her and she “forgot.” Very convenient that she then remembered again.

As she mentions sleeping pills, Vanessa concocts a story and this brings it back to Max Peeters. He was found dead with Rohypnol in his system. These sleeping pills would have been enough to quieten down the victims and allow Julia to kill.

Vanessa then goes on and mentions Luca – pleading with her to reveal where he is for the sake of Luca’s family. Eventually Julia cracks and gives up the information needed as the interviews come to a close.

Natalie offers up a promotion for Vanessa and to do more of these sort of interviews but she refuses for now. She doesn’t want to take this work home and continues to remain focused on closing up the Julia case.

The Episode Review

The first episode wastes little time getting right to the heart of the drama. There’s some lovely editing and good scene composition throughout with this one too. Specifically, the one-shot take from the  hallway to the observation room are definite highlights here.

The characterization continues for our investigators and the entire episode builds up to a pressure cooker of information at the end as Julia reveals all. This definitely keeps you guessing although it seemed a little obvious early on that Julia was hiding something.

So far so good though and Criminal gets off to a decent start with its second season.


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